I have talked an awful lot on here about running. And cardio is extremely important for fat loss. But I also lift weights and that's what I want to talk about today. Because if you are not strength training, then you are not doing all you can to maximize your weight loss.
Strength training is so important for so many reasons. First off, muscles are sexy. They look good! And muscle takes up much less room then fat. So if you take 2 people of the exact same height and weight, the one that has a lot of muscle is going to look smaller and tighter and just overall better then the person that doesn't weight train.
Secondly, muscle burns more calories then fat, even at rest. Remember us talking about BMR yesterday? That means that the more muscular you are, the more you are ramping up your BMR and burning calories even while you are sleeping at night.
Think you have bad joints? Well strength training can help you there, too! I remember when I first started and it KILLED my one knee to do a squat. But as you build muscle around weak joints, it tightens things up and actually stabilizes joints. So if you have wobbly knees, ankles and hips, building muscle around them will help. Also, if you are a woman, we start to worry about losing muscle and even bone starting at age 35. Strength training helps prevent that.
I'm pretty proud of my muscles!
So where to start? Well first off, forget about girlie 2-3 pound weights. They are all but useless. You need to lift heavy weights if you want results. If you don't have any weights yet, start with body weight exercises. Things like squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups. They will be foreign and uncomfortable at first, but as you get better at them and begin to see your body change, it will be worth it.
If you really want to get into this, I highly recommend the book "The New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women". You can use it as a beginner or more advanced. It also dispels stupid myths like women getting "bulky" from lifting.